by Kyra Anderson
The writer in me needs confidence.
The writer in me needs a big-bosomed, no-nonsense Irish nanny to drag me out of bed and into the shower with my clothes on, to pull back the curtains, sweep the scattered chaos into the trash.
The writer in me needs a team of cheerleaders, a steady drum of voices that remind me over and over that I have my own voice and it’s valid, that just because I wasn’t chained to the basement furnace or dropped from a plane, or self-possessed enough to do a solo trek along a riverbank thousands of miles through floodplains and topical forests with nothing but a backpack of scant supplies and a rusty pocket knife, I still have something worth saying.
The writer in me needs routine. The writer in me needs privacy. The writer in me
needs companionship, fellow travelers hungry to talk about their process in relatable
and inspiring ways. The writer in me, frankly, needs artists of all kinds around me,
burning with the need to express something inside of themselves, who talk of the
struggle to access their inner lives without grandiosity and tedium. The writer in me
needs daily, gentle, well-meaning encouragement, a mix of trauma-response therapist
and a beefy ex-con that paces an auditorium stage, scaring me straight.
The writer in me needs comfort and peace, a spot in a brightly lit room, a laptop
with keys that don’t stick and a cursor that does what it’s told. The writer in me needs to
know that I will help get us there, to the work, to the ants marching across the page, to
the slow reveal of the story, to the WHAT IT’S ABOUT. The writer in me needs to be
shown, over and over, that the only way to get there is to do the writing, the writing gets me to the writing, the writing gets me to the discovery, to the trap doors that open and drop phrases and images I could never find by sheer will.
The writer in me needs an audience, laughter, sounds of recognition, sounds of
people not getting it, the sound of energy moving away, The writer in me needs to hear
myself speak the words out loud, escape the vacuum of my head where it’s brilliant or
garbage, two sides of a coin that repeatedly flips, never finding its rim to roll toward
The writer in me says, Let me go Let me go, the voice of Nana taken from her
homeland, the voice of her mother locked away for 37 years, the voice of the yearning
to just be free, get off me, get off. The writer in me needs discipline and structure, loud
music and space to fling my body around, whipping the words free like strings of roller-
skaters flung from centrifugal force.
The writer in me needs time, not buckets of time but consistent chucks of serious, focused, suspension-of-disbelief time when I sit her down and guard the door and whisper stay, stay, like Pema Chodrin counsels, stay, endure this tension, endure this discomfort, this tunnel of fear rising up your throat, stay, stay.
The writer in me needs permission and courage, forgiveness and a sense of
humor (my god if I don’t laugh, I’m done for) a fun snack, things that crack me open,
images and colors and beauty, a cute outfit, leggings that don’t itch or sag, and boots
with a chunky heel. The writer in me needs attention and love, isn’t that the same? To
love is to give attention, to attend, the root of which is stretch to. That’s apt. The writer in
me needs me to stretch beyond what feels possible, so I don’t have to know anything,
do I? Just sit, and stay, and reach.
Kyra Anderson is a writer, visual artist and the author of Gravity Pulls You In. She lives in Northampton with her husband, dog and an empty nest. She wrote this piece in our Thursday morning Jumpstart. Follow her on Instagram @kyrasprojects